DTC #FierceMadness tipoff: McDreamy, Viagra and Valeant's big toe

basketball and bracket imagery
Morgan Freeman, Deion Sanders and hep C star in the #FierceMadness play-in round, and voting begins Wednesday.

It’s time for the #FierceMadness tipoff. FiercePharma's DTC ad tournament begins today with play-in voting. In each of our four divisions, there are two DTC ads primed to play for the final 32. They include PSAs with celebrities, rare disease awareness pitches and a handful of blockbuster drugs from Harvoni to Viagra. All of them either pushed the creative envelope or grabbed headlines in another way—we’re looking at you, Toe Fungus spokescharacter in the Super Bowl.

Click the links in the descriptions below the ballot to learn more about the campaigns, and then click on the ballot to vote for your favorite four of the eight to advance. Use the comment box to let us know why you decided the way you did, and then check back Monday for the winners and to read a wrap-up of the smartest, funniest or most insightful comments.


Act fast: Voting is only open through Sunday, March 19, at midnight Eastern time.

Round 1

Dempsey vs. Freeman

Ad:“Breakaway from Cancer” disease awareness with Patrick Dempsey
Company: Amgen
Actor Dempsey, who played a fictional doctor on TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” starred in the latest Breakaway disease awareness TV spot to drive support for Amgen's team effort that benefits four leading cancer organizations.

Ad: “Stand Up to Cancer” PSA with Morgan Freeman
Company: Roche’s U.S. unit Genentech
Actor Freeman stood up with a cancer patient in this public service campaign sponsored by Genentech to drive people to get screened for disease and get involved in prevention and clinical trials.

Vanda vs. the Montanas

Ad: “New Day” for Non-24 disease awareness
Company: Vanda Pharmaceutical
Vanda's ads explained Non-24, a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that affects blind people in which they confuse day and night.

Ad: “Breakaway From Heart Disease” awareness with Montanas
Company: Amgen
Former quarterback Joe Montana and his wife Jennifer spoke out in a Breakaway campaign for heart disease that mirrored Amgen’s Breakaway from cancer campaign.

HepC Cure vs. Tough Athletes

Ad: Harvoni “I Am Ready”
Company: Gilead
Promising the very real possibility of a cure for people with hepatitis C, Gilead launched an anthemic bid to grab attention and market share for its then-rising star Harvoni.

Ad: Farxiga “For Athletes”
Company: AstraZeneca
AZ hit the gym with sport-and-sweat advertising for diabetes treatment Farxiga. The gritty black-and white shots departed from standard diabetes ads, including its own former "Everyday People" upbeat jam.

Cartoon Toe Fungus vs. ED Women

Ad: Jublia “Super Bowl Spa” with Deion Sanders and Howie Long
Company: Valeant
Valeant seems to know no bounds when it comes to where its purple-clad big toe fungus spokescharacter will show up. In this case, it went to the spa with famous former pro footballers in an ad that ran during the Super Bowl.

Ad: Viagra “Straight Talk-Single Packs"
Company: Pfizer
The women in dark blue dresses started talking directly to men about Viagra and erectile dysfunction almost three years ago, but this year they added marketing around new single-pack dosing.

Vote now in the #FierceMadness play-in round